TITLE: The Bride Test
BY: Helen Hoang
SERIES: The Kiss Quotient #2
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
PUBLICATION: May 7, 2019 by Berkly
RATING: 4 Blissful Pages with Lilies
Khai Diep is convinced that he’s not capable of feeling except maybe irritation when people move his things or generally things that aren’t in order. But that’s it, he can’t feel stronger emotions such as grief and love. People around him tolerate it and just leave him be since he’s successful in life. But it became a problem when his mother made it her mission to find him a wife, even going to their homeland Vietnam to find one. Enter Esme Tran. She’s a mixed-race Vietnamese girl who have been living in poverty and so when opportunity comes of going to America, she grabbed it. Before they met, Khai and Esme might’ve different plans regarding the forced engagement but it’s not long before both of them see that everything’s not going according to their plans.
First of all, I’ve been setting this book aside because I was afraid. I really liked The Kiss Quotient and my expectations are high. But then after seeing this book on my friends’ posts and how much they rave about it, I finally gave in. And you all, I’m not regretting it. The Bride Test still have that charm the previous book has, thanks to Helen Hoang’s wonderful writing style. I found Khai and Esme very likeable, especially Khai. Their romance is so realistic, all things considered. And I mean, every element in the story became important in the romance. Elements such as what it means for Esme coming to America from Vietnam and really poor and what it means to be involved with Khai who is autistic. This is why the romance is very realistic. Still, it was so heartwarming and sweet. This is such a feel-good romance with a right amount of laugh in it. I like it that Esme was very honest and obvious regarding her seduction to Khai and Khai’s denial of his feelings is very understandable.
Though I’m not educated enough when it comes to autism, my heart truly understand Khai and deeply cares for him. The writing made it really easy to accept Khai for who he is and doesn’t question his actions throughout the novel. And though I know autism is a serious matter, I found scenes that are really hilarious. I hope no one gets offended by my comment. There are just scenes that are really funny like that scene the day after Khai and Esme had sex, the scene with Michael (The Kiss Quotient male MC) and Quan (Khai’s older brother). It was really funny the way Michael and Quan reacted to Khai’s story. But overall, I want to acknowledge the proper use of an autism rep in this book. Thank you to the author because somehow, my knowledge of the matter is now larger.
I also like the way the author presented Vietnam’s culture and even the condition of the country’s slum parts. It’s the same in my country and so I can say Helen Hoang definitely knows what she’s writing about. And I’m glad for that. Also I agree hundred percent when Khai said something about mental Illness in countryside of Vietnam is not really acknowledged in a way that it should be acknowledged. Again it’s the same in my country. I’m not criticizing any country, okay? It’s just a fact. I remember when I was in high school and there are those kids that everyone branded as just rebellious and just had bad characters or attitude. Knowing what I know now, and looking back, I realized that some of them have issues that wouldn’t be solved with disciplinary actions but of more serious solution like real counseling of real psychologists. And Khai hinted this kind of situation in the beginning of the story.
Anyway, back to the romance, I love how everything was wrapped up into a sweet romance and again, a realistic one. I love how the author maneuvered the story to make Esme achieve her dreams in the end. There’s only one little problem I can’t ignore, it’s about one secret of Esme. She managed to hide it from Khai for a very long time and I’m not comfortable with it.
Also, I just want to squeeze something about Quan who I think I also didn’t acknowledge in my review of the previous book. I really like his character. He is Khai’s older brother and really a big part of this story and contributed a lot so that Khai and Esme’s happy ending happens. And in The Kiss Quotient, Quan was also a big part. There were many scenes in this book and the previous one that involves Quan. I remember that once Michael from The Kiss Quotient even told Quan before, that Stella (Book 1’s female MC) is like Khai. And it was Quan who somehow made Michael realize that Stella has Asperger’s. So yeah, I love Quan and even more because he’s too hilarious.
Overall, I love this book and really enjoyed reading it. Like I said, this is feel-good read. Though I must say that compared to The Kiss Quotient, this book is just second. The Kiss Quotient is still my favorite but it would be a shame if you guys don’t read this one too.
What do you think of this book? have you read it? Or planning to? let’s chat.